Everyone knows that if you’re vacationing in Mexico you won’t find yourself at a loss for things to do and see. Aside from the flawless beaches of the region there are many activities that will keep you busy during your vacation. One of our top recommendations for visitors to Cancun and Riviera Maya is the cultural eco park Xcaret. Combining the wonder of the Mexican jungle and ancient Mayan culture more than 50 exhibits and activities for the entire family this park has it all! Families, adventure seekers and blissful newlyweds all will find something they’ll love at Xcaret. Here are my most important tips for Xcaret:
Do plan to visit Xcaret if you are in Riviera Maya.
This may seem like a no brainer recommendation but I know how it is when you’re on vacation and you haven’t narrowed down what your activities or schedule will be. On our first trip to Riviera Maya with both kids there were so many activities to consider and we weren’t sure what we wanted to do or see. We almost passed on a chance to visit Xcaret. Fortunately in our research we found a great coupon for two day tickets for our family and we took the plunge. It was one of the best memories of our whole trip. Talking about two day tickets…
Don’t try to see the whole park in one day
We snagged the two day tickets mostly because the deal was so good (it was a limited time BOGO deal). And boy were we glad we did. The park has over 50 exhibits and activities including cenote rivers, mayan ruins, aquatic animal exhibits, a mayan village with hands on learning about mayan culture, beach activities and more. It is just not possible to see everything and do everything in one day at the park. On the first day we explored the park and swam in the cenote river (you can read about that, um, interesting adventure here). We were so wiped out after the cenote swim that we called it a day around 4pm and headed back to our resort to rest. The following day we arrived later in the day and spent the evening at the magnificent night time show (see below). Even with these two days there we still left without experiencing some of the exhibits. Keeping this mind I would highly suggest that you…
Do your research before hand and plan your day(s) at the park
I’m a planner by nature but I didn’t do enough prior research before our visit to Xcaret. The park has a great website with details on most of the exhibits and maps on the layout. The park is massive and it can take a long time to walk from one end to the other. With this in mind, knowing what you want to see and do most, prior to arriving, is the best way for you to maximize your time at the park. I will be honest: it can be a bit overwhelming as you peruse the myriad of activities but with a little time and attention you can narrow down the essentials you want to see. I didn’t plan well and on our second day we arrived, wanting to experience certain exhibits only to find that they were closed. We were disappointed but we had already seen and done so much at Xcaret that we got over it, lol.
Don’t miss the Mexico Espectacular Show in the evening
I am often a bit of a skeptic. When something is much praised and quite popular I always am a bit suspicious of the credibility of the reviews. We repeatedly heard about the nightly show at Xcaret, from the staff at the resort we were staying in, the taxi drivers and even random guests at our resort. The reviews online are also stellar. The evening show is included in admission to Xcaret so we decided to make the show our main focus on the second day at the park. We were not disappointed!
The show is held each night at 7pm in a massive and beautiful stadium-like setting in the park. The Mexico Espectacular Show is an epic multi-sensory show with over hundreds of performers and live animals. Historical reenactments, musical numbers, dramatic moments and even a super cool demonstration of the ancient mayan game pok-ta-pok! Seeing this show after our visit to Chichen Itza earlier in that trip made history come alive. The kids were engrossed as much as the adults were! I can’t say enough about it. Just go. Do NOT miss this show.
Do prepare for a busy, very active day
My last tip may seem obvious but pre-planning goes a long way to helping you make the most of your trip. As with any park, plan for lots of walking in warm (hot, depending on when you visit) weather. The park is beautifully landscaped with lots of trees and vegetation and many of the walkways are protected by foliage cover. Nonetheless, the park is huge and you will be walking a lot as you explore. Comfortable shoes are very important as well as comfortable clothing! There are lockers available for rent and multiple clean locker rooms with showers and changing areas throughout the park. Outside food and drinks are not allowed in Xcaret but there are 10 restaurants and many snack bars throughout the park which offer something for everyone!
I can’t say enough good things about Xcaret! It remains one of our most memorable experiences in Riviera Maya and I would love to visit again. If you have any plans to visit Cancun and the surrounding areas please let me know or send me a message (see the contact me link above) as I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have! Have any of you been to Xcaret or had an immersive cultural experience like this during your travels?